3 Steps to Ease Back-to-School Stress

With high stress levels associated with a new school year, it is crucial to take steps to easy one’s worries.


Ruby Sexton, Contributor

Back to school stress is at an all-time high as students file back into the hallways this year. The global pandemic, distanced learning, and a return to an uncertain start of school elevated stress levels of high school students everywhere.

Ashleigh Winkler ’23 states, “I spend most of my time doing schoolwork or worrying about school. It is also hard for me to find a break where I can recuperate and do things that make me happy, which is making my stress levels rise.”

Now, students are adjusting to new habits in this unprecedented time. As if high school was not overwhelming enough, coming back to campus after distance learning is nerve-racking. When asked if Ashleigh has experienced these nerves, she claimed, “ Yes, it is [nerve-racking] because online school happened for such a long time, I adjusted to that daily routine. Now there are not only harder academic factors, but also social factors that I have to readjust to.”

Copious amounts of stress can harm health, happiness, and success in school. Here are some tips for students who are experiencing these overwhelming and anxious feelings.


    1. Effectively Manage Your Workload:

Staying organized will help ease stress. For example, manage homework with a planner. When one’s studies and papers are in order, things are easily found, making life easier. Throughout the interview, Ashleigh mentioned that the workload is much heavier in comparison to distanced learning. Considering this fact, extracurricular activities, and social lives of high school students, it is also essential for students to create a solid plan for completing homework. One option is to use the O’Dowd planner, but another is to keep homework organized on a cellphone. A new and improved way to track homework assignments is Todoist, a free app that can keep track of tasks. With every task, there is a due date, and Todoist will send reminders when a due date is near.

    1.  2.   Find Ways to Relax:

In the interview, Ashleigh claimed, “one thing that is helping me through the transition is finding time for self-care.” Fighting stress is never a good feeling, so recognize that stress exists, but try to relax and stay positive. Surrounding oneself with love and support from family and friends is crucial. Good health is the first step to success, so even in the midst of a busy schedule, make time for self-care. Try a bath bomb, do a face mask, read a book, exercise, eat healthily, or take a nap. Doing the things that make you feel at ease will reflect into the rest of your life.


    1. 3.   Talk it Out:

One of the most important things to do when feeling stressed is to process those emotions. Talking through overwhelming thoughts and feelings can help clarify how you are feeling, which releases tension and anxiety.  Whether it’s talking to a parent, a close friend, or even an O’Dowd counselor, talking through issues with a trusted individual can be incredibly beneficial. Moreover, sometimes it’s helpful to get other perspectives in order to ground oneself.

Another important factor is actually accepting one’s back-to-school stress. The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge that it exists. This is a challenging time for everyone and you’re not alone. If it ever becomes too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Good luck Dragons!